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What is the therapeutic relationship in cbt

In cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), a good working relationship is essential to achieving the goals of therapy, keeping patients engaged, and inspiring hope. During her talk The Therapeutic Relationship in Cognitive Behavior Therapy at Psych Congress 2019 in San Diego, Judith S. Beck, PhD, discussed strategies for establishing and maintaining a strong therapeutic relationship and using the relationship to collaboratively solve problems and accomplish goals.

For over 25 years, Dr Beck has led the nonprofit Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy. To fulfill its mission of improving lives worldwide through excellence in CBT, Beck Institute provides world-class training in evidence-based CBT, serving health and mental health practitioners, organizations and universities around the world. To learn more about Beck Institute’s training programs, or its new CBT Certification program, visit

  • General issues in the therapeutic relationship in CBT
  • Therapeutic relationship issues in specific disorders
  • Working with specific client groups
  • Interpersonal considerations in particular delivery situations

The therapeutic relationship in CBT is often reduced to a cursory description of establishing warmth, genuineness and empathy in order to foster a collaborative relationship. This does not reflect the different approaches needed to establish a therapeutic partnership for the wide range of disorders and settings in which CBT is applied. This book takes a client group and disorder approach with chapters split into four sections:

Each chapter outlines key challenges therapists face in a specific context, how to predict and prevent ruptures in the therapeutic alliance and how to work with these ruptures when they occur. With clinical vignettes, dialogue examples and ‘tips for therapists’ this book is key reading for CBT therapists at all levels.

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